Interview by Bears Fonte
A bit of googling turned up the fact that despite the fact you could now take a gun to campus, due to Texas obscenity law, you could not wield a dildo. A post for a ‘Campus Dildo Carry’ Protest, using the hashtag #CocksNotGlocks soon went viral and a movement was born. “It’s like in-person trolling,” explains Jin, “I don’t actually want to be carrying a dick around but on principle, I should be able to and I know it makes you uncomfortable. This is exactly how people should feel about guns. It should get you stares. People should be a little squeamish about them.” The fake protest soon became a real one, planned for the first day of fall semester after the law went into effect. Say the organizer, “I think that discomfort is something we have to stoke in people again because it’s gone dormant in everybody.”
With her post in October, Jin gave herself almost a year to prepare for the protest, although not all that time was spent in `preparation.’ First, she had to get out of town due to some pretty awful death threats. “I just grabbed a National Parks pass and a tent,” she says, “they’re calling me a communist and telling me that I’m not a patriot, or un-American for doing this. I’m going to go have the most American time ever.” Jin also spent the time engaging with people in DC, and meeting gun-violence prevention people and survivors.
Of course, for most people, it’s not that contentious. Recent studies show that 97% of America support some form of gun control. “The thing that’s unfortunate about campus carry is there actually was no support from it, in terms of the University itself,” says Raval, “the University didn’t want it. The students didn’t want it. The faculty didn’t want it. The chancellor didn’t want it. But it’s an example of laws put into place for whatever reasons are maybe not serving the actual public.”
Jin’s protest has also received a bit of odd outside support, arriving first as 300 dildos from Shane’s World, a pornographic film company. “Kailey received the first shipment of dicks because I was out West,” Jin says, of one of her other organizers, “she hid them in her room, in her apartment. But she eventually had to evacuate because her parents were coming to visit.” Eventually the march materials took up residence in Spiro’s attic. “I would tell people a professor is storing our dildos,” the organizer says, “everyone thought that was super funny. We were all in cahoots.” One box of backing came from Singapore in the form of mini-vibrators. “We called them the Concealed Carry Toys because you couldn’t tell they were vibrators,” says Jin, “they were these beautiful, silicon, non-descript bullet things, with little petals coming out. They looked like flowers.” Americans would probably be surprised to learn similar items are sold in grocery stores in some of the most conservative South-East Asian countries, in the health section. “It just shows how backwards our views are on sexuality versus violence,” she remarks, “there are some things Republicans will cringe and freak out at and shield their kids from, and then there are things they accept as a normal part of life. I think this whole protest challenged them to rethink what they view as acceptable in society.”
“There are a lot of people writing manuals for more conventional forms of political organizing, so let’s just say you’re writing it -Jessica’s writing the manual for unconventional political organizing against gun violence. In fact, it’s coming out in the fall under Simon and Schuster.’”
For Jin, this is just the latest chapter of ‘shitposting,’ as she calls it. “I made this shitty website called Sad Violin Music,” she clarifies, “ it would be like Uber – live sad violinists if your kid is crying over their chores just order a violinist. …or if you’re breaking up with somebody, or laying someone off.” Jin’s most recent internet stunt is something called “Haunt My Rep”. “I put up these really grizzly pictures of zombies and posted, ‘commit to haunt the shit out of anyone who kills you with their policies.’” Basically if John Cornyn enacts this healthcare law, and you die because of it, tell your senator you plan on “flicking his light switches off, hiding his car keys, texting his exes, pouring out his cereal milk, flipping the table.”
COME AND TAKE IT world premieres at SXSW. Spiro’s films include “Diana’s Hair Ego,” “Greetings From Out Here,” “Roam Sweet Home,” “Atomic Ed & the Black Hole,” “Are the Kids Alright?,” “Troop 1500,” “Fixing the Future” and “Body of War” (Oscar shortlist). Raval’s films include “Trinidad” (Showtime, LOGO) and “Before You Know It” (PBS) and has been named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and FILMMAKER Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”